CalGIS Notes: Day 307 Apr 2007
The last day of CalGIS was on Good Friday, which was a bit of a bummer. However, it had some redeeming features, notably the brunch, and the diverse set of presentations from 3D world bigwigs to the closing plenary sessions.
Erik Weiker of Microsoft, Michael Jones of Google Earth, and Patrick Hogan of NASA World Wind all gave talks, pushing their various globes within the context of talking about what the future of such technology holds.
- Arik Weiker of Microsoft had the weakest talk, presentation-wise, as I cannot remember much of it now (typing in the airport bar in Vancouver, waiting for my flight to Victoria). He showed off some nice mash-ups in Virtual Earth, gave a little tour of the app, and pointed up the different between “GIS as practiced by GIS’ers” and “GIS as experienced by ordinary folks”. His grandma figured prominently as a user story.
- Michael Jones of Google gave a clean, crowd pleasing talk that was long on laughs but short on content. The core was similar to Arik’s, pointing up the massive size of the audience represented by the aggregate number of Google Earth downloads (over 200 million at this time). His take away message was that the size of this new audience of geospatial consumers represents a huge opportunity for geospatial content providers. And since the audience consisted of a lot of folks who manage and create geospatial content (government agencies largely), it was a worthy message. GIS – it ain’t just about printing maps anymore.
- Patrick Hogan of NASA was the final speaker, and had a different message, though with similar overtones. Again, the idea was the virtual globes are bringing geospatial to the masses. Hogan highlighted the role that World Wind can/is playing in providing an open platform for delivering this content. Because World Wind is open source, and leverages open standards (like WMS), it is (hopefully) leading the virtual globe market to the same standards convergence that NCSA Mosaic led the web browser world through a scant 15 years ago.
Sam and I left before the talk from Sean Walsh, advisor to the Governator, and headed off. And here I am, cooling my heals in an airport bar, stealing WIFI from the executive lounge (in YVR, gate C34 is where you want to be, for reference, on your way to FOSS4G 2007) waiting for the last flight to Victoria.
And then to bed.